22. Misión 19 (Tijuana, Mexico)
Javier Plascencia, whose family owns everything from pizzerias to the special-occasion Villa Saverios (number 61) to the dining room at Hotel Caesar’s (number 92), where the famous salad was invented, has been instrumental in helping to turn the infamous border town of Tijuana into something approaching a fine dining destination — and Misión 19 is his flagship.
Looking out on the city from the second floor of a modern office building, the dining room — with wraparound windows, an open latticework of wood enclosing the bar, pastel neon accents, and cactuses that look like something out of a cartoon — is every bit as eclectic, colorful, and energizing as Plascencia’s creations.
A bastion of “BajaMed” cuisine (and why shouldn’t northwestern Mexico have every bit as much a claim to the Mediterranean as Northern California?), Misión 19 tempts diners with such unexpected but welcome fare as seaweed and goat cheese salad with cured, grilled salmon trout; risotto with heirloom beans, wild mushrooms, and huitlacoche; fish of the day in fermented soybean sauce with poblano chile adobo, roasted carrots, and almonds; and tablitas (crosscut beef ribs) vacuum-cooked for 48 hours and served with “cracklins” of beluga lentils, chayote, and Brussels sprouts.
Source: The Daily Meal